Welcome back to another year of thrills and spills!! What remains to be seen is where the thrills will be, as against those who could be spilling. Once again this is what makes the property market a better read than an NAB foreign exchange prediction. The one thing you can’t take out of our markets is consumer confidence with the index rising 4.8 per cent last month to 118.7; the highest since July 1994. It was the Aussie dollar that rose by almost thirty four per cent in 2003, although some would much prefer to forget that little statistic!! The rise and rise of the Aussie dollar has driven the inflation rate to a four-year low of 2.4 per cent, which will in all probability, see the “Governor of Moolah” apply the safety switch to his interest rate revolver.

So what’s in store in 2004 for the property market? Well we believe (I say “we” so if this is wrong you can blame “them”, as against me), we will see the lite-version of property trading. As mentioned in past editions, Mosman has just 5,900 homes, Cremorne has 1,744 homes, Cremorne Point has 451 homes, Neutral Bay has 2,739 homes and Cammeray has 2,819 houses. Given that this year marks the eighth year of positive trading and we have seen a seventy per cent trade, we believe that in 2004, it will be a lite-version of trading. We predict that the rocky road for our market will again be “demand, far exceeding supply”.

Once again we will see the debate of rental growth on investment apartments, and this year this market has started in a frenzy. So far in 2004, we have six apartments awaiting exchange. Last year, our data identified that the apartment market posted an impressive twelve per cent capital appreciation. Many shareholders in public companies are no longer angry with management decisions, as they are sleeping far better having diverted their funds to the residential property market. One thing that investors now recognise is that with investment properties, rental yields and capital growth do not go hand in hand. Capital growth is what they find most appealing, together with the very low vacancy rates that we are experiencing at present.

It is interesting to note that the September quarter ’03 was our all time record, and the December quarter was the second highest that we have ever posted, despite two shock horror rate increases. Our overall auction clearance rate in 2004 for houses and apartments was just over ninety per cent, and Expressions of Interest was eighty five per cent. In December, the property marketed by Richardson & Wrench Mosman & Neutral Bay in Iluka Road, was sold by Richard Simeon and this represented the highest ever sale in Clifton Gardens, east of Bradleys Head Road which was yet another milestone for the market.

With the average price for a home in Mosman sitting at an all time high of $1,848,413 as at December 2003, it will be very interesting to monitor this throughout 2004. It will be another great year for some; others may very well wish to forget it. From our perspective we feel positive that the property markets in Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay will more than hold their own.

We will have quite a few big announcements over the coming weeks that we are very excited about. Thanks to all those who phoned or e-mailed us enquiring as to where their editions were in 2004. We always wait until the return of the great “Title Deeds”. One thing you can be assured of is that we won’t be holding back with our commentary in 2004; our Professional Indemnity for ‘VRN’ is now greater than that of our real estate agency!! I guess it had something to do with the statement that “should there be any litigious actions, I will be acting on behalf of the Company…”(some never learn)!! Cheers and clink, it’s great to be back, in 2004 where we will take it to the fore ^__^

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